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bidorbuy for Windows Phone

After tons of design, development, and testing (and far too many energy drinks), we’ve just published the official bidorbuy app for Windows Phone 8!

Bidorbuy is Africa’s Largest Online Marketplace serving over 1 million users a month, but you likely already knew that.
Over the past few months I’ve been working with their team to build a fully-featured, first class application for Windows Phone that embraces the Windows Phone design style, while adding its own unique brand.

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Cortana as a home-automation assistant

Microsoft’s brand new personal assistant, Cortana, is getting a lot of people excited at the moment. Even though it is in beta, I’ve found it surprisingly good, and already use it for practical reasons daily.

So why not take it a bit further? What about letting her control my lights – because, yes, giving an AI access to deadly electricity is a great idea (no, really, it is).

This uses a Netduino, Bluetooth module, and a normal 240v desk-lamp.

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Microsoft YouthSpark

The Microsoft YouthSpark day was held at the Durban University of technology today in Durban, South Africa.

In the keynote I got to demonstrate a bunch of cool things that Windows Phones can do.
One of the things I showed was just how easy/quick it was to take a picture, “Tap to Share” it to a different phone, and then share it on Twitter. And yes, I did that by taking a selfie on stage Smile

 

(Side note: see the flash on the left? Pivendren took a photo at exactly the same time!)

 

I also demonstrated my app, TapShoot. It allows you to pair two phones together and remotely take a photo. The scenario I presented was taking a photo with my “wife” (yes, that is a woman in the backdrop image).

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Next, fellow Microsoft MVP, Taylor Gibb, and I presented the app development track. We made a simple app that calculates taxi fares to introduce the students to the Windows Phone platform.

One of the prizes was a Windows Phone. At the end of the session we decided to shuffle the eval-forms and pick a random one to decide the winner.
To make things more interesting I had told the students that the draw was for a Nokia bag. Watch the winners face as he realizes he is actually getting a phone Open-mouthed smile.

Nyaladzi Mpofu from Microsoft was there making sure the whole event went smoothly.

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For any Durban students (or non-students), I run a weekly Windows Phone training session called “Phone Fridays” at the Durban University of Technology (who are kind enough to lend us their PC labs!). Taylor Gibb will also be at these to do talks and assist people. If you’re interested please email piven@errornaik.com with the subject line of “PhoneFridays”. (And yes, it is free)

Update: Here is an article in The Witness newspaper today about the event.

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The Internet of Things with the Azure cloud, Netduino, Windows Phone, and lots of other buzzwords

If you haven’t heard, “the cloud” is kind of a big deal right now. Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s slice of it  (with 54% of Fortune 500 companies running on Azure today), and is the reason that when you take a photo on your phone it magically appears on your PC (amongst other things). No one understands the cloud, but we know it is powerful Winking smile.

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At BUILD 2014, Microsoft announced their plan for allowing everything from your teddy bear to your traffic light (because people totally have these) to connect to Azure. And yes, this includes connecting up a full sized traffic light…

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VALA: Alpha goes live!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that quite a while ago we got accepted into AppCampus (seriously, go watch the video that got us into the program) with a game about llama slaughter. We were then invited to Finland for a month-long intensive training camp called AppCademy.

Since then we’ve gone through lots of iterations, scrapped the project multiple times to start from scratch, and had team members change. The core team is now Renier Van Der Westhuizen (who has worked on awesome games like The Harvest for WP7) on art, and myself (Matt Cavanagh) on code. And we’re bringing in a few people here and there to help.

Say hello to Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse: Alpha (VALA: Alpha in the store)!

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Netduino and Windows Phone Bitcoin tracker on Azure

My intern and I were asked to do a talk at the Durban University of Technology to the 3rd year IT students to excite them about the possibility of using Netduinos or/and Windows Phones in their final year projects.

We didn’t want to just show them a blinking LED, but rather something that would be relevant to a real-world scenario – so we came up with this:

Sorry for the horrible GIF. What you can probably tell is that it is a time-lapse of the Bitcoin price changing. The graph represents that change, and the LED glows green when it goes up, and red when it goes down. (There is a typo on the screen – USD should be BTC).

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Playing with the Nokia Lumia 1020 shutter speed

It was Kaila’s (my Wife) birthday yesterday, and all she requested was sparklers. Turned out to be a ton of fun!

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All the photos here were taken with the Nokia Camera app on my Lumia 1020. All settings were default except shutter speed was set to 4 seconds. I didn’t have my 1020 camera cover so these are all taken free hand (no tripod) which means they’re slightly blurred (pretty hard to hold a phone still for 4 seconds Winking smile). The photos are untouched besides cropping and upping the contrast a bit.

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Windows Phone controlled car with Netduino and Bluetooth

The houses in Durban, South Africa (where I live) usually have some form of gap underneath them that ranges from 30cm to big enough to crawl inside. As far as I know it is for ventilation to help with the heat. The problem is that a bunch of squeaky rodents have decided that mine is a good home, and unfortunately the gap is pretty small so I can’t fit. So I decided to make a little car that could go scout out the area and show me what was going on under there, and possibly how to stop it.

So I built a little Bluetooth controlled car using a Netduino and a Windows Phone as a remote.

My puppy seems to be a fan.

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